DIY: Residential Sewer Smoke Test

Written by gail delaney
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If you smell sewer gas in your home, you need to find the leak right away. Sniffing around the sewer pipes can show you the approximate area of the leak, but it's important to pinpoint the faulty area. With a smoke bomb, you can do your own residential sewer smoke test to find exactly where the leak is coming from.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Blower, leaf blower or vacuum
  • Can
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Smoke bomb
  • Tape
  • Cloth
  • Marker

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  1. 1

    Rent an electric or battery-powered blower at almost any home improvement centre. A leaf blower or a vacuum also works. If you use the vacuum, it has to blow air out, not suck it into the machine.

  2. 2

    Punch holes in the bottom of a can. A hammer and nail is an easy way to punch some holes. The can needs to fit in the sewer line and over the end of the blower or vacuum hose.

  3. 3

    Bend the top of the can so it fits over the blower nozzle or onto the end of the vacuum hose.

  4. 4

    Light a smoke bomb and put it in the can. Quickly put the can onto the end of the blower. If you are using the leaf blower or vacuum, tape the can on for a tight seal.

  5. 5

    Insert the can into the sewer vent pipe.The sewer vent is located on top of your roof. It can be a round polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe or a black pipe.

  6. 6

    Cover the gap between the blower and the pipe with a cloth to keep the smoke from escaping back out at you.

  7. 7

    Turn on the blower. While you pump the smoke through the sewer line, have someone inside your house look for smoke. Make a mark anywhere you see smoke leaking out.

Tips and warnings

  • Perform this test when the house is empty. Breathing in smoke can cause minor respiratory irritation.

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